Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Planetary alignment of 2000
One of the nice things about writing fiction is that you can create events to fit a narrative. Need a snowstorm to disrupt a Fourth of July picnic? Well, dial one up! Readers won't care. If your story takes place in a colder part of the world, like Montana, you won't even have to push the boundaries of plausibility. Indeed, you may not have to invent at all. In the opening chapter of The Mine, protagonist Joel Smith closely follows a TV news report about an alignment of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn on May 29, 2000. The celestial event sends him hurtling back to 1941. In this case, fiction followed fact by only three weeks. The six planets fell into a rough alignment with each other, the Sun, and our moon on May 5, 2000. The configuration was the first of its kind in 38 years but resulted in nothing more calamitous than a few news cycles of scientific commentary. More information on the May 5 happening and its predecessors can be found at NASA.gov. The planets will not do an encore for another 426 years.